I am not a regular bus commuter though I have been in the past. Last week I boarded a Rapid KL bus at the Wangsa Maju LRT station.
When I attempted to pay for my ticket with coins, I was told that the bus did not accept payment in this form. Nevertheless the driver took my money and gestured that I should take a seat.
Some minutes later, he called me to the front of the bus and said that he had spoken to his ‘pegawai’ who confirmed that I could not pay with coins.
I proceeded to take out a RM1 note from my wallet only to be told that, no, that was also unacceptable. Instead, the driver instructed me to buy a RM5 card from the Rapid counter outside. I am baffled. Since when have Malaysian coins and notes ceased to be legal tender on public buses?
On the Rapid website, these cards are advertised as a new bus ticketing system that promotes accuracy, accessibility and environmental friendliness. The question is ‘for whom’? Certainly not the poor makcik or pakcik struggling to make ends meet for their households. Making them fork out RM5 for a trip that should only cost them RM1 – worse if they never plan to take the bus again – is just plain wrong.
There are many other ways to encourage commuters to purchase these cards but forcing them to do so is not one of them. It is certainly not in the interest of the rakyat whose needs the government has promised to prioritise. This reeks of yet another poorly conceived public transport scheme. Shame on you SPAD and Rapid KL.